A Constraint Programming Approach to the Stable Marriage Problem

  • Ian P. Gent
  • Robert W. Irving
  • David F. Manlove
  • Patrick Prosser
  • Barbara M. Smith
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 2239)


The Stable Marriage problem (SM) is an extensively-studied combinatorial problem with many practical applications. In this paper we present two encodings of an instance I of SM as an instance J of a Constraint Satisfaction Problem. We prove that, in a precise sense, establishing arc consistency in J is equivalent to the action of the established Extended Gale/Shapley algorithm for SM on I. As a consequence of this, the man-optimal and woman-optimal stable matchings can be derived immediately. Furthermore we show that, in both encodings, all solutions of I may be enumerated in a failure-free manner. Our results indicate the applicability of Constraint Programming to the domain of stable matching problems in general, many of which are NP-hard.


Constraint Satisfaction Problem Stable Match Preference List Stable Marriage Stable Marriage Problem 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ian P. Gent
    • 1
  • Robert W. Irving
    • 2
  • David F. Manlove
    • 2
  • Patrick Prosser
    • 2
  • Barbara M. Smith
    • 3
  1. 1.School of Computer ScienceUniversity of St. AndrewsScotland
  2. 2.Department of Computing ScienceUniversity of GlasgowScotland
  3. 3.School of Computing and MathematicsUniversity of HuddersfieldEngland

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